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House Speaker Johnson invites Biden to deliver the State of the Union address on March 7

Biden’s March 7 address would be the latest that a president has delivered the State of the Union since 1934. It would also come after a pair of critical deadlines to avert a government shutdown

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5, 2024.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5, 2024.SHAWN THEW (EFE)

House Speaker Mike Johnson is inviting President Joe Biden to deliver his annual State of the Union address on March 7. In a letter sent to the White House on Saturday, Johnson, R-La., extended the formal invitation for Biden to speak to a joint session of Congress. Johnson said he was inviting Biden “in this moment of great challenge for our country.”

This will be the first State of the Union for Johnson as speaker, who traditionally sits behind and to the left of the president during the address to Congress. This year’s speech will offer an opportunity for Biden to detail his broader vision and policy priorities as he campaigns for reelection in November.

Notably, Biden’s address is scheduled for after a pair of critical deadlines to avert a government shutdown.

Funding for federal agencies that oversee programs for veterans, and on transportation, housing, agriculture and energy, is set to expire Jan. 19. Funding for the rest of the federal government, including the Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security, will run out Feb. 2.

The annual address from the president to Congress is usually scheduled for late January or February.

Biden’s March 7 address would be the latest that a president has delivered the State of the Union since 1934, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt revived the practice of giving the annual speech in person. Before this year, the latest that a State of the Union had been given was in 2022, when Biden delivered it on March 1 of that year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In last year’s State of the Union, Biden repeatedly declared that he would “finish the job” on critical parts of his agenda that remained incomplete, such as capping insulin costs for all Americans, taking more aggressive actions on climate change, banning so-called assault-style weapons and pushing for higher taxes on corporations and the rich.

It was also his first State of the Union in front of a divided Congress, and some House Republicans interrupted and jeered at Biden, particularly when he spoke about efforts from some GOP lawmakers to cut Medicare and Social Security.

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